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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 12:22 GMT
Sudan foes to meet over Darfur
Sudanese refugees  (Pic: Dieter Telemans, MSF)
The war in Sudan has created a huge refugee problem
The Sudanese government and rebel groups have agreed to hold talks aimed at resolving the conflict in the western province of Darfur.

The peace talks will reportedly be held in neighbouring Chad despite earlier reservations by the rebels.

On Friday, United Nations coordinator for Sudan Mukesh Kapila described the situation in Darfur as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.

Some 100,000 people have fled the fighting in Darfur into Chad.

Neutral venue

The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) rebels accuse the government of neglecting the area and oppressing the blacks in favour of Arabs.

Map of Sudan highlighting Darfur
The BBC's Alfred Taban in Khartoum says the European Union is backing the talks between government and rebels which are set for next week.

Earlier a section of the rebels had opposed plans to have Chad as the host saying it was not a neutral venue.

But Ahmat Allam-mi, an adviser to Chadian President Idriss Deby, told the Associated Press news agency the talks will be held in N'Djamena.

The fighting in the west of Sudan has intensified as government peace talks to resolve the 20-year war with southern rebels are nearing an end.

But the UN is concerned that this conflict could undermine the peace talks in Kenya.

The BBC's Kirsty Lang
"These are some of the survivors of a systematic campaign of rape, murder, and pillage"

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